6 Healthy, Low-Sugar Snacks for Kids
Whether your kids are picky eaters or not, it can be tricky to keep the pantry stocked with kid-friendly snacks that aren’t loaded with sugar. But it’s certainly not impossible! There are plenty of low-sugar snacks out there that won’t make you feel guilty about letting the kids take a snack break.
Of course, just because a snack is low in added sugar doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthy. But opting for low-sugar snacks is a great step in the right direction, and it will help set your kids up to make healthier choices for themselves as they get older.
Here are some ideas for healthy, low-sugar snacks you’ll feel great about feeding your kids.
How to Identify Healthy Low-Sugar Snacks
While it’s nearly impossible to cut out sugar from your kids’ diets altogether — and natural sugars like those found in fruits and grains are actually good for them — it’s recommended that children over the age of 2 should be limited to 25 grams or less of added sugar per day.
According to recently updated FDA standards, food labels now list both the total amount of sugar per serving and the amount of added sugar. This makes it easier to differentiate between an item’s natural sugar content and sugar that has been added during processing — and to cut down on the latter.
However, keep in mind that low-sugar snacks aren’t automatically healthy just because they have less added sugar. As you check your kids’ snacks for added sugar, also look at the nutritional value and make sure the kiddos are getting all the nutrients they need.
6 Low-Sugar Snack Ideas
Ready for some kid-approved low-sugar snacks that are both tasty and nutritious? Here are six ideas to get you started.
When it comes to low-sugar snacks that will give your kids plenty of nutrients at the same time, raw vegetables are pretty hard to beat. Carrot or celery sticks, bell pepper strips, broccoli, and cauliflower are common kid-friendly options that are easy to prep and fun to munch on.
For extra protein (and flavor!) add a dollop of natural nut butter with no added sugar or homemade hummus for dipping.
And if your kids aren’t sold on the idea of broccoli or pepper strips as a snack, don’t sweat it. Instead, try the standby “ants on a log” for a healthy snack that’s deceptively sweet. Just top celery sticks with some low-fat cream cheese and a line of no-sugar-added raisins.
Popcorn may seem like junk food, but it’s actually a nutrient-rich whole grain in its original form. The key to keeping it healthy is to leave off all that extra butter and salt and season it lightly yourself. Hint: that also means popping it yourself instead of settling for the microwave bag variety.
Keep in mind, however, that popcorn or other similarly-sized snacks are a choking hazard and should not be given to very young children.
If your kids need a snack that’s a little more filling, oatmeal is a quick and easy option. Instead of using instant packets (which are usually loaded with sugar), mix up some overnight oats to keep in the fridge or simply whip up a bowl or two at snacktime.
For extra protein, add natural, low-sugar nut butter. For a bit of sweetness, mix in some berries or bananas — or even some dark chocolate for an extra treat.
Homemade Fruit Leather
If we’re honest, most store-bought fruit snacks are closer to candy than fruit (yes, even the ones that contain real fruit juice!). Making your own fruit leather is not only a great way to limit the sugar content of this tasty treat, but it’s also a fun activity the kids will love to help with.
What is fruit leather, you ask? It’s a healthier alternative to fruit roll-ups or fruit strips, and it’s made with real fruit puree. When you make your own, you can limit or eliminate added sugar altogether.
For older kids (this one could also be a choking hazard for small children), homemade trail mix is another fun example — this one shows that low-sugar snacks can be customized according to each kid’s taste.
To keep the sugar content low, avoid pre-packaged mixes and instead create your own blend. Try low-sugar ingredients like nuts, pretzels, dried fruit, homemade or low-sugar granola, and even popcorn.
Outstanding Cheese Balls
While making your own low-sugar snacks is great, it’s not always feasible when you’re on a tight schedule. So it’s also important to have some grab-and-go nutritious snacks that require no preparation.
Kids will love the bite-size crunch and powerful flavor of Outstanding Cheese Balls, and you’ll love all the plant-based, dairy-free protein and nutrients they contain.
Cut the Sugar, Not the Flavor
When choosing healthy, low-sugar snacks for your kids, it’s important to work with your kids’ taste buds — not against them. The more you introduce healthy snacks with a low added sugar content that the kiddos actually like, the easier it will be to phase added sugars out of their overall diet.
If you would like more tips, tricks, and healthy snack ideas, follow us on Instagram and Facebook.